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Celebrating the 8 ugliest bakes on the Great British Baking Show

A yellow cake version of Tom Delonge grimaces hauntingly at the camera
A yellow cake version of Tom Delonge grimaces hauntingly at the camera (Image credit: Netflix)

In an unexpected silver lining for 2020, Netflix has delivered a new season of The Great British Baking Show with new episodes added weekly, meaning that we're for the first time viewing alongside our British friends. The first episode was filled with the usual delightful bakes, innuendo, and a batch of new bakers for us to back or bicker about. But it also introduced one of the most laugh out loud moments in the history of the beloved baking series. 

When asked to make a cake paying homage to their heroes, one brave baker chose Tom Delonge of Blink 182 and "making the CIA declassify UFO videos" fame. As if that choice wasn't funny enough, the outcome offered up even more laughs. The strange yellow-melting-faced masterpiece inspired me to look back at the history of The Great British Baking Show (or Bake Off, as they call it in the UK) and celebrate some of the worst, weirdest, and most stomach-turning creations ever presented to the judges. And, of course, to share them for your viewing and laughing pleasure. 

Three Flavors of Tom Delonge

(Image credit: Netflix)

Had to start with the iconic cake that both broke the internet and made me incredibly happy. Tom Delonge has had a lot of looks during his time but none quite so strange as this. Dave created the strawberry and mint flavored sculpture that looks like a Simpsons character gone wrong. There's so much to love about this weird cake from the terrifying grimace to the crumbling skin. Honestly, beginning the series with such a hard challenge seems cruel and many of the cakes could have made it onto this list. But I had to pay homage to this one, which is probably my fave bake of all time... and the name only makes it better too. I love you, Three Flavors of Tom Delonge. 

Decrepit Gingerbread Barn 

A skeletal gingerbread house looks on the edge of collapse

(Image credit: BBC One)

Series three saw many incredible bakes but none spoke to me as deeply as James' "Haunted Barn." Although it was originally meant to be a non-ghostly structure, when it began to go wrong James went down the spooky route in order to save himself and it worked. Look at the majesty of those spun sugar spider webs, the crooked gingerbread roof, the spacious structure allowing any roving spirits to easily enter and leave. If you can believe it, his impressive on-the-spot thinking (A.K.A. blagging) ended up helping him to go on to take the prize of star baker that week--and eventually the finals--in a win for food loving goths and ghouls everywhere. 

Not-So-Baked Alaska 

A melted mess of ice cream melts off the plate and onto the table

(Image credit: BBC One)

In one The Great British Baking Show's biggest controversies, sweet grandma Diane removed hipster Iain's ice cream from the fridge, leading to his complete and utter meltdown. We must mention that the structural issues were likely already built into Iain's dish as his ice cream was only on the table for one minute, but it did take place on an unseasonably warm British summer day. Not only was the outcome disastrous but Iain ended up throwing his bake in the trash, presenting the receptacle to the judges after storming out of the tent. It will forever go down on British Twitter history as #bingate, and I will never forget this dramatic and slimy ice cream mess. 

Satan's Tennis Court

A soggy fruit cake holds a badly iced tennis court

(Image credit: Channel 4)

It's not that Mat's tennis cake was the worst bake on the show, even though it did lead to him leaving the Baking Show tent. It's more that there's something haunting about the juxtaposition of the brightly colored icing and that razor sharp, crumbling tennis net. It truly looks as if it's a cursed birthday cake sent from Beelzebub himself ready to trap you in its spiky jaws. There's just something about this diabolically sporty fruitcake that still stays with me to this day. 

Leaning Tower of Black Forest Gateau

A melting black forest gateau melts meltingly

(Image credit: BBC One)

Dorret is one of my fave Great British Baking Show contestants, but her black forest gateau is a thing of baking nightmares. A melting mess of sugar, this was likely delicious to eat but was far from pleasing to the eye. Who knows, maybe she could have pretended she was doing a deconstructed gateau? Could that quick thinking have saved her? Sadly, we'll never know.  

The Perplexing Self-Portrait 

A biscuit showcases a man holding a tiny pink thing that might be a shrimp or... something more creepy

(Image credit: Channel 4)

Look, we know it's supposed to be a portrait of baker Dan and his new born child, but it looks like he's holding something else. Paul Hollywood kindly described the swaddled baby as a shrimp but we were thinking of something a little more adult. The bright colors and detail can't be dismissed but as soon as you head back to Dan and his suspicious package, it goes straight to the top of our ugly bakes list. It's just too Cronenbergian not too. Sorry, Dan. 

It's... a Snail? 

An orange loaf of bread is meant to look like a snail but is far more phallic

(Image credit: Channel 4)

Continuing the phallic trend is this charming and very rude... snail. The contestant who presented this magical woodland creature was Julia, who realized her own mistake stating that "just looks inappropriate" before her judgement. The series' bread expert, Paul Hollywood, was most delighted by the piece and couldn't help having a good old laugh. It's truly a magical creation that is not only a slightly off-putting shade of orange that has nothing to do with a snail at all, but we just can't stop staring at its... head. 

"Polishing a Turd"

(Image credit: Channel 4)

If you're not from England you likely haven't come across Rylan Clarke a reality TV star and baker behind one of the grossest and greatest bakes ever. During a charity edition of the series, Clarke decided to bake a Poop Emoji shaped cake but it came out looking far more realistic than anyone wanted. There were no cute smooth curves or a charming grin; instead, we got a knobbly, shiny, and downright disgusting pile of, well... poop. One of the best creations to ever bless The Great British Baking Show judges table and a perfect end to our celebration of bad! 

Rosie Knight is an Eisner-winning journalist and author who's been writing professionally since 2005. Her career has taken her around the world and, although she hails from London, she currently resides in Los Angeles where she writes full time. She began as a professional poet but transitioned into journalism, starting at the Eisner-winning WWAC in 2016. Since then she has written over 1500 articles for digital media sites including What to Watch (opens in new tab), Nerdist (opens in new tab), IGN (opens in new tab), The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab), Esquire (opens in new tab), Den of Geek (opens in new tab), DC Comics (opens in new tab), /Film (opens in new tab), BuzzFeed (opens in new tab), and Refinery29 (opens in new tab). She also writes comics including The Haunted High Tops and Cougar and Cub. When she's not writing she spends far too much time watching horror movies and Hallmark films.